KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips gave most of their early gains at the midday break on March 11, despite the RM60-billion stimulus budget, while Asian markets rallied after Citi and HSBC said earnings were improving. At 12.30pm, the KL Composite Index was just up 0.76 point to 856.01. Turnover was 195.15 million shares valued at RM278.34 million. The broader market was mixed, with 200 gainers, 172 losers while 200 stocks were unchanged. Light crude oil rose nine cents to US$45.80 while crude palm oil futures shed RM2 to RM1,955. Asian markets rallied, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 4.24% to 7,354.39, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2.9% to 12,034.77, Singapore’s Straits Times Index 1.8% to 1,512.05 and Shanghai’s Composite Index advanced 1.02% to 2,180.51. MPI surged 98 sen to RM5.80 with just 1,200 shares in the absence of fresh corporate. It made a net loss of RM14.73 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31 compared with net profit of RM49.2 million a year ago. Dutch Lady rose 15 sen to RM9.10 while LPI added 10 sen to RM8.75. MISC, which had been sold down recently on concerns over the outlook for the marine transportation industry, rose 15 sen to RM8.40. MISC foreign gained 10 sen to RM8.30. Mesadaq-listed Willowglen jumped 12 sen to 30 sen, the highest since end-2007 after securing a contract last week. TMI, which had been battered down, rose six sen to RM2.61 in active trade. Proton added six sen to RM1.63 and UMW five sen to RM5.30. MRCB, which should benefit from the stimulus package, rose 0.5 sen to 83.5 sen. Plantation stocks rose, with KL Kepong gaining 10 sen to RM10.30 and IOI Corp two sen to RM3.80 as the cost-efficient producers would gain from the higher threshold for the levy. However, bank stocks gave up their gains and reversed into the red. Public Bank fell 15 sen to RM7.35 and the foreign shares five sen to RM7.20 while BCHB shed five sen to RM6.15.
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